On Sunday in Lusaka, Zambia, The African Union held its 41st Ordinary Session where the members selected Rwanda to host the headquarters of the African Union Medicines Agency.
After the meeting, Rwanda’s Foreign Minister took to social media to express his excitement: “Thanks to all member states who supported Rwanda, Egypt, Morocco, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe had bided. ” Vincent Biruta tweeted.
According to the AU, The African Medicines Agency will, “Enhance the capacity of state parties and regional economic communities (REC) to regulate medical products, to improve Africa’s access to quality safe, and efficacious medical products.”
The African Medicines Agency is set to be the second specialized health agency of the African Union following the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
With the new body up and running, all the 55 member states have hope that it will foster an enabling environment for pharmaceutical manufacturing after Covid-19 exposed challenges faced by Africa’s health sector.
With Africa’s population projected at about 1.2 billion, Africa has a high disease burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases that contributes to a significant market for the pharmaceutical industry, and over US$30 billion is estimated in annual earnings from substandard or counterfeit drugs which are also a public health risk contributing significantly to morbidity and mortality.
The African Medicines Agency comes after a long journey that started in 2009 and is a Specialized Agency of the African Union with its own rules, membership, and resources to enhance the capacity of State Parties and Regional Economic Communities (RECs), to regulate medical products as well improve access to quality, safe and efficacious medical products on the continent.